It’s not a secret that I didn’t really enjoy my time with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. It was a mess of poorly thought out ideas with terrible implementations that managed to be objectively worse than that of the first Lords of Shadow in almost every way. With this in mind, I was more than a bit apprehensive going into my review of the game’s Revelations DLC, as I simply wasn’t prepared to watch a franchise I love go off the rails again. However, now that the credits are rolling, it’s easy to say that while this is better than the base game, I’m still not sure there’s enough here to demand your attention.
Before we get into the swing of things, I should warn you that the DLC contains some spoilers pertaining to the main game. If you’re still waiting to play through the main title for some reason, you may want to skip this review.
The story found within Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Revelations is about as bare bones as you can get, really. The DLC takes place before the events of Lords of Shadow 2, as Dracula’s son Alucard is sent out on a few errands by his mother. She’s instructed her son to help prepare for Drac’s awakening by recovering the Void Sword and Chaos Claws and having them ready for him to use in combat against Satan’s army.
With a title like Revelations, I don’t think you could be faulted for expecting something that shines some light into the story, offering new insight on what’s transpired. However, outside of detailing how Alucard assumed the role of Zobek’s lieutenant, there’s really nothing new being offered here.
In order to track down Dracula’s weapons, you’ll be tearing through portions of the castle without having to rely on the gimmicky time jumps that plagued the main game. It’s actually slightly painful to play through the re-imagined Overlook Tower and the brand new Forbidden Wing of the castle, simply because they’re a prime example of “what could have been.” The level design is on point, there’s remarkable creativity in the way you’re asked to complete puzzles, and everything seems to have the soul that was lacking from the previous 15 hours.
While the puzzles are creative, they still seem slightly out of place and make up the majority of the gameplay. It’s nothing as insulting as possessing a rat for stealth systems (I still have a hard time believing that someone was paid to come up with that), but it can be a bit tedious all the same. Alucard can transform into a swarm of bats to instantly jump to distant handholds, use a spectral wolf to navigate through bars and jump long distances, and he can also turn back time, restoring collapsed platforms and destroyed items to their prior glory for a brief period of time. The puzzles all involve using these abilities in tandem in order to traverse the castle and, while they can be frustratingly obtuse at times, are fairly rewarding. An early highlight is using Alucard’s time restore ability to reset a trap, to make it fling a spinning blade into a wall, which then causes it to crumble and reveal a new passageway.
I was shocked at how little combat there was in comparison to the puzzle solving mechanics; however, what combat is in place is very well fleshed out. While Alucard is armed with a katana as opposed to his father’s combat cross, the basic combat mechanics are largely the same. One new addition, though, is the ability to unlock mastery of a skill through continued usage, but there’s simply not enough time in the DLC to really explore this. I was able to complete Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Revelations in about two hours, and if I were to eliminate the time I spent trying to figure out the puzzles, I’d estimate the add-on drops to about the 1:15-1:30 mark.
You will get a chance to test your merit against two bosses, however only one is truly a boss fight. The other is a variation on the puzzle climbing we’ve seen in action adventure games in the past. There’s nothing wrong here, but there’s nothing new or memorable to be found, either.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Revelations isn’t perfect, not by a long shot. The biggest complaint I have is the abbreviated length and the fact that it really doesn’t add to the story. This is essentially a paid fetch quest you can take on. For what it’s worth, it’s a well-done fetch quest, but unless you were really clamouring for more Lords of Shadow 2, there’s little incentive to pick it up.
That being said, I’m walking away from Revelations infinitely more optimistic than I was when I removed the base game’s disc from my Xbox 360. The core combat, the creative level design, the well thought out puzzles, and the absolute lack of rat-based stealth, all hint at what Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 should have been in the first place. I’m honestly excited about the future of the franchise again, and that alone was worth the play through for me.
This review is based on an Xbox 360 version of the DLC given to us for review purposes.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 - Revelations hints at what Lords of Shadow 2 should have been in the first place. However, it's painfully short and offers nothing in the way of replay value. If you're dying for more Castlevania, it's worth picking up, but I have to think that most people have moved on by now.